A recent report from the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) reveals that Wall Street employees received $28.5 billion in combined bonuses last year.
That works out to be double the collective annual earnings of the more than one million full-time U.S. workers who made the federal minimum wage in 2014. At the national level, the hourly minimum wage is $7.25.
The $28.5 billion in bonuses was spread out among 167,800 Wall Street bank employees, according to the Washington, D.C.-based think tank.
"The size of the [2014 Wall Street] bonus pool was 27 percent higher than in 2009, the last time Congress increased the minimum wage," reads the report, "Off the Deep End: The Wall Street Bonus Pool and Low-Wage Workers."
EPI research associate Thomas Palley wrote the report, which also serves as a primer on the how the Federal Reserve, or the Fed, works and offers a blueprint on how to make monetary policy more "job- and wage-friendly."
Over the three decades prior to the Great Recession, Palley says the Fed, the central bank of the United States, "consistently took care of Wall Street first while not caring much about Main Street."
"Since the Great Recession, there has been some shift toward helping ordinary Americans, but even more is needed, and we fervently hope that [Fed] Chair [Janet] Yellen sees this," said Palley, who also serves as AFL-CIO's senior economic policy adviser.
Labor leaders gathered to discuss the future of American unions and the critical keys to their survival at a University of Chicago panel discussion Thursday night. Progress Illinois details highlights from the talk.
A few hundred education activists kicked off the last day of the Chicago Teachers Union's three-day march against school closings at William J. & Charles H. Mayo Elementary School Monday morning. Education activists also delivered a petition calling for a moratorium on school closings to City Hall this afternoon. Progress Illinois was there for the actions.
Freeport workers at the Bain Capital-owned Sensata Technologies rallied today as part of a national movement calling on politicians to focus on job creation, not cuts to social services and education. The workers say the outcome of the election, which saw Democrat Cheri Bustos beat incumbent, Tea Party-backed Republican Bobby Schilling in the 17th congressional district where the Sensata factory lies, shows that voters are ready to see their elected officials work for them, not against them.
For months, the Sensata workers called on U.S. Rep. Schilling and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to address the issue of the 170 U.S. jobs being outsourced to China. But their calls fell on deaf ears, with neither Schilling nor Romney ever taking the time to meet with the workers or address the issue.
“Politicians who turned their back on workers, like Bobby Schilling and Mitt Romney, were rejected by voters,” said Tom Gaulrapp, who has worked at the plant for 33 years. “Our elected leaders need to stand up for good jobs, not job-killing budget cuts.”
The Federal Reserve, whose policy committee meets next week, is looking
at a third round of "quantative easing", meaning the central bank buys
assets like mortgage-backed securities that businesses want off their